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  • NovaCare Rehabilitation is now offering Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training!

    BFR training, also known as occlusion therapy, uses a self- regulating pressure cuff to affect blood flow to/away from extremity. The goal is to occlude venous return away from extremity but allow for continued arterial flow to muscles during exercise. This results in pooling of blood in the involved extremity and creates an environment in which the muscles feel as though they are being stressed at a higher level

    How does it work?

    The first step is to check what pressure the patient should be training at to allow for safe training. Since numerous factors can affect what pressure should be used by each patient, it is important to get a personalized pressure to train with. Once pressure has been selected the patient will perform low-load resistance training with high numbers of repetitions and short rest periods. The number of exercises can vary but a BFR training session can last anywhere from six to thirty minutes.

    Is it effective?

    Numerous studies have shown muscle hypertrophy and strength gains using BFR at resistance loads of only 20 to 30 percent of one repetition max (1RM). Muscle hypertrophy using BFR at low loads has shown results similar to traditional strength training at ~70 percent of 1RM. Studies also have shown tissue damage that normally occurs with high-load resistance training is minimal when using BFR with a low-load.

    Who can benefit?

    Patients who have atrophy as a result of injury or surgery are usually good candidates for BFR training. Patients who have generalized weakness and cannot tolerate heavy loads needed for gaining muscle mass may also be good candidates as they return to full activity. It can also assist with breaking down fibrosis in muscles.

    What makes it safe?

    BFR training at NovaCare Rehabilitation is done under the supervision of a trained physical or occupational therapist. It is constantly regulating the pressure applied to the limb to keep it consistent through activity. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Ryan Perry, P.T., DPT, OCS, MTC, CSCS, FAAOMPT, at [email protected]. References available upon request.